The Art of the Indiana State House
The State House is shaped like a cross. The center is a rotunda with this magnificent glass ceiling four stories overhead.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
On October 15th, downtown Indianapolis hosted a very special convention of sorts. The “Hoosier Homecoming” was a celebration held at the Indiana State House in honor of Indiana’s 200th birthday, with a host of well-known local faces in attendance, an opportunity for self-guided tours of the State House, and the closing ceremonies to the Indiana Torch Relay, a 37-day event in which a specially lit torch — not unlike the Olympics’ own, but inspired by the torch on our state flag — traveled through all 92 Indiana counties by various transportation methods until its final stop in Marion County at the Homecoming.
We’ve seen the capitol domes of several states on the road trips we’ve taken throughout the years. Longtime MCC readers so far have seen examples we’ve shared from Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Someday we’ll get around to representing our capitol dome photo from West Virginia, as well as the capitol in Washington DC, to say nothing of capitol domes we might catch on future travels. Last weekend we added to the photo collection and got a closer look at Indiana’s own.
The view of our capitol dome from Robert D. Orr Plaza on the west end of the grounds.
The Indiana State House isn’t far from where I work, but I never have occasion to run around it, inside or out. The inside tour was free and self-guided, and naturally subject to security screening. Its four floors contain state government offices and a variety of art fixtures celebrating Hoosier personalities, heritage, and art and architecture in general.
The view from the fourth floor.
Among the many busts you’ll find throughout its halls is this one of President Benjamin Harrison. He moved to Indiana at age 21 and eventually worked his way up to Governor before he rose to the national stage. We claim him as One of Ours despite his Ohio birthplace.
Not quite a President: local attorney Wendell Willkie, who lost against FDR in the 1940 election. I first heard of him when his name was used as a random punchline in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Colonel Richard Owen, U.S. Army, ran a reputedly courteous Civil War prison camp for Confederate POWs.
Harley the Hog (yes, really his name) stands guard outside the Lieutenant Governor’s office, a gift from Indiana Pork (yes, that’s also a thing) to former tenant Becky Skillman (2005-2013), who left it behind for subsequent Lieutenant Governors to enjoy and explain.
Decorating the House Chambers is a 21-foot 1964 mural called “Spirit of Indiana”. For value-added Highlights puzzle fun, see if you can spot Pegasus, Apollo, the agricultural goddess Ceres, the lady symbolizing Education, and William Henry Harrison.
…and that’s just scratching the surfaces inside the State House. A number of sculptures and fixtures dot the grounds outside as well.
The 1962 bronze “Young Abe Lincoln” depicts the onetime Indiana resident during his gawky formative years.
Above the south entrance is “The Westward Journey”, a series of sculpted figures with a gilded bald eagle watching over them.
Remember that time Khan complained bitterly to Captain Kirk about the Eugenics War? That wasn’t entirely extrapolated from thin air. This is one of many historical markers around downtown Indy, thankfully two-sided because…
…WE DID IT, Y’ALL. WE WON THE WAR ON EUGENICS. Uh, eventually.
One of two new sculptures dedicated during the Hoosier Homecoming ceremonies is Osman Akan’s “Lux Aeterna”, evoking the torch on the Indiana state flag.
The other new sculpture is Dale Enochs’ “Time Flow”, a sort of conceptual gateway from the past to the future, or vice versa depending on which way you’re facing.
To be concluded!
This has been Part Five in a special six-part MCC miniseries. Other chapters to date:
Part 1: Adventures in Local Government
Part 2: The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay Finale
Part 3: Bicentennial Cosplay!
Part 4: Notes from the Office of the Governor of Indiana
Part 6: The Indiana Bicentennial Bonus Bric-a-Brac Bonanza